Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 23, 2011

In An Attempt Not To End The Week On Humping Superheroes

I read a couple of really good comic books this week. I may review each of them at some point, and I'm not even sure they're out yet, but I want to put them on the radar of as many people as possible.


Love And Rockets: New Stories Vol. 4 contains the conclusion to the recent run of "The Love Bunglers" stories -- again with a heartbreaking digression into the past, for the first time giving us the perspective of a key figure in Maggie's life, Letty -- by Jaime Hernandez, and a potential final chapter to his 30-year Locas saga as well. This is incandescent work. At this point, Jaime Hernandez draws comics better than maybe anyone's ever drawn comics. The story is beautifully paced, there are at least two stop and stare sequences in there (both involving Maggie and Ray D.), the characters are warm and human and funny, one of the subplots addresses with significant insight and potency Jaime's long-time fascination with the power of memory in providing life with meaning and the ending made me choke up both as a moment with resonance across decades of comics but also for the thematic twist it provides on something we've seen in the last few appearances of Jaime's best character (she wanted to hear it; she needed to say it). I don't know that it's something you can pick up out of the blue, but my God, what a remarkable comic. I'm so grateful to have read it.



The best thing I can say about Pope Hats #2 by Ethan Rilly is that I read it right after consuming the Hernandez Brothers' latest and it made its own unique, positive and subtle impression. The main story engages something with which comics outside of Joe Casey's mainstream superhero books almost never seems to bother: vocation and the constant referendum on self that work provides the self-aware. Rilly has one of those super-appealing, can-seemingly-do-everything-he-wants-it-to art styles. If Rilly's comics were a building, they'd look completely comfortable sitting on the same street with all of the A-list D+Q gang. It's the sensibility here that rewards, however, his way of gently portraying the protagonist's self-recriminations even and maybe especially at those moments when she think she's swimming strongly through a foreign environment. The second story feels like a television pilot for Dan Clowes' Wilson, but even that one's funny and authoritatively rendered, with several sequences placed within the story for which it's up to you to provide meaning. I'd say it's promising work, but I think it's already there.

posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink

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